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About Benefits and Harm of the Laughter

About Benefits and Harm of the Laughter
Ilya Fedoseev 06.09.2006

At a sight at the newest (the newest - that is already postSoviet) history of our country one notice curious paradox. Yeltsin was a bright figure, picturesque - and extremely ridiculous. But there were not many funny stories about him. Something, certainly, was told, from time to time even something funny - but all the same no comparison not only with Michael Sergeevich and Leonid Iljich but even with their predecessors.

Returning of Funny Stories

But here you are – Putin came - and everything changed. Immediately people reacted on his «wet in toilets» - though this pearl did not go in any comparison with Yeltsin’s "rails" and «38 snipers». Besides Putin hasn’t conduct an orchestra yet – at least publicly … And – everything’s started. The era of political jokes «about Vovochka» came. The matter is, probably, and not in Yeltsin and Putin's persons - put in the change of epochs. Yeltsin actually from the very beginning of his management deafened people – by destructive neoliberal reforms, execution of the Supreme Body, the Chechen Republic… Almost on all the duration of the 90th an average inhabitant of Russia was at lost, he couldn’t understand what’s going on around. Yeltsin himself was not an understandable personality. Well and so that to laugh at something – one has to understand that it’s funny. Therefore jokes that existed by that decade were dedicated to more accessible themes - for example, about «new Russians». They didn’t have anything mysterious about then. By the end of the 90th, however, a man gradually began to accustom to new conditions. To get used, according to Dostoevsky, is possible to everything (I won\t give here an exact citation not to offend anybody). It appeared that it’s possible to live even in such country, its rules can - though partialy - be understood and there’s a lot of funny in such life. That was the time when Putin appeared on horizon - quite worthy for making jokes character. At the same time national creativity began to master other actors of political theatre – for example, Berezovsky (the majority of jokes about him – is of rather late origin).

One Never Laughs At the Enemy

So, politicians headed by the president are all the same ridiculous. Is it good or bad? In my opinion, people laugh only at something that is possible to put with - what is possible to live with. I do not think that during the war jokes about Hitler and Germans were very popular. There were, certainly, caricatures - and Kukriniks and of many other authors. But they had a little bit specific propaganda role - to lower image of the enemy, to show his weakness – thus to show an opportunity of victory over him. Hardly in opinion of the population of the USSR of first half fortieth Hitler was ridiculous. He was terrible, disgusting, hated - yes. Any of these three adjectives is not somehow connected with a word "ridiculous". To laugh at the enemy - means to recognize that he is not such a strong enemy. And well-known statement of Oruell - about impossibility to shoot at person who loses trousers - can be interpreted also in this very sense. Perhaps, a monk Horhe from the novel «Name of a Rose» was not totally wrong, when he forbade to represent demons ridiculous? Laughing at evil it’s possible not to notice that he puts up with it.

Alive Tyrants

Meanwhile, an evil itself feels neither cold nor hot from our laughter. Nabokov’s hero from the story «Elimination of Tyrants» with the help of his laughter killed the tyrant only in himself. Before the tyrant very quietly continued to live and tyrannize having his pleasure without suspecting that someone killed him in himself. Here you are the first danger the laughter at enemy represent – it creates illusion of victory and leads thus to self-complacency. Have you derided the enemy, undressed him in printed form and publicly, smeared with pitch and dragged him in feathers - and it looks as if you have already won him. And now - a disco party! But that's just the point that in our conditions such, forgive My God, victory decides nothing. Shout all over the country that a king is naked – he still be majestically sparkling naked from the throne. Yes, he – is naked. But he is on throne - and where, I dare ask, are you?

Satire – Instead of Humor

But not smaller threat represents also an effect of mitigation which has been already spoken about. Look on becoming already legendary site «Vladimir.Vladimirovich.ru». It is really "unknown Putin" - not at all terrible, ridiculous, domestic and cozy. Well, androids clank around him, well, he likes like Scrooge MacDuck to take a bathe in StabFund… It is quite tolerant, it’s possible to live with such a president. And from time to time even to laugh at him - in a kind way. The situation is complicated also by the fact that the laughter is on a hand to the opponents of a present regime, moreover - it is necessary. How to conduct propaganda against authority not mocking at it? But one should be an extremely cautious and circumspect here. Not humour - but satire is needed, satire which should be, first of all, malicious and only after that – ridiculous. It is necessary to pass on a pole - between mitigation and self-complacency. And remember at this: laughter is - a terrible weapon and it’s necessary to make efforts that it won’t serve to a mode but will be directed against it.

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